July 17, 2013 — In recognition of the long and illustrious relationship between the horse and the six branches of the American military–the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard and National Guard–The Trail of Painted Ponies, in partnership with Horses4Heroes and TAPS (the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors), is proudly announcing an exciting new national art competition. The competition is designed to creatively showcase the special relationship–past and present, on the battlefield and in ceremonial and therapeutic programs–between the horse and the American military.
No other animal has played so great a role in the history of warfare as the horse. From horse-drawn chariots to armored knights to mounted warriors to light cavalry, humans have relied on the horse for battlefield successes. Nations have risen and fallen by the horse. Until they became outmoded by machine guns, tanks, airplanes and other modern weapons, horses were our war machines. While their role in military campaigns has changed, they continue to serve the troops.
The U.S. Special Forces relied on horses to keep supply lines open for report outposts in the mountains of Afghanistan in Desert Storm. The Caisson Platoon of the 3rd US Infantry, dubbed “The Old Guard,” represents the Army in ceremonies at Arlington Cemetery and in presidential inaugural parades. On the grounds of the Air Force Academy, therapeutic riding programs have become important to help returning military members with physical and emotional wounds. It is time for the military horse to receive its due.
Artists and creative spirits everywhere, active duty military personnel, veterans and their families, everyone with a vision of how to imaginatively pay tribute to what has been called the world’s “oldest weapons system”– a soldier and his horse–is invited to participate. Using one or more of the five Trail of Painted Ponies horse forms as a canvas, designs can be realistic representations or artistic interpretations, and can represent the history or embody the spirit of one of the military services, or all combined.
The winners in each category, to be determined by a national online vote, will receive cash prizes, merchandise, national attention and their designs could be crafted into a collectible figurine.
The competition will officially begin on July 1, 2013, and end October 1, 2013. There are no entry fees.
For 10 years, The Trail of Painted Ponies has celebrated the horse as a source of artistic inspiration, while creating the most beloved horse collectible in America today: Painted Pony collectible figurines. It has sponsored numerous art competitions, the most recent in partnership with the American Paint Horse Association and the Appaloosa Horse Club.
Horses4Heroes is a non-profit organization based in Las Vegas with 250 centers in 44 states that offers health and wellness equestrian programs for active duty military personnel, veterans and their families (www.horses4heroes.org).
The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) is the national organization providing compassionate care for the families of America’s fallen military heroes (www.taps.org).
For more information about the “Honoring the Military Horse” competition, and details for participation, call or email: Rod Barker, 480-459-5700, Ext. 1#; email [email protected], or visit www.paintedponies.com.